Rapping in Good Company
One of the many interesting things about Mallorca is the incredible amount of stories we find here. Or personal histories, I should say.
Granted, everyone in the world has a fascinating background story; just being born and making it to adulthood is a wonder in itself.
However, there are stories that seem to stand out just that little bit more. Take Nawid Company, owner of Next Level Affiliate Marketing, for example. What, is the company named Next Level AND Nawid Company? I ask.
No. Company is Nawid’s surname.
“Yes, it’s a funny story,” Iranian-born Company, who laughs often throughout our talk, says.
“Traditionally, Iranians or Persians didn’t have surnames. We were just ‘son of…’ and ‘daughter of…’. The Shah of Persia wanted the country to become more modern and westernised, so he decided that all citizens should have surnames. My great grandfather was a big trader in ships travelling between India and Persia, and also he acted like a kind of bank in the region. The government asked him to pick out a surname for the family. So because his company name was Farsi Trading Company Limited, he chose the word Company as our family name.”
And that is the back story of the company name Company Entertainment. This memorable moniker was the company name of Company’s company while he was still living in Germany, helping to make rap music one of the most popular art forms in that country – as well as France! (Mais naturellement!)
But hang on. An Iranian German named Company, bringing rap to western Europe?
“Yes, and hip-hop,” he nods.
I settle into my chair, agog. This is going to be an entertaining day in Calle Sindicat.
“Yes, I started my first company when I was 18 or 19. I was a booking agent for musicians and DJs. I have a degree in economics, but worked as an agent even while I was studying for it. So I organised clubs, events, parties, that kind of thing, in Hanover. It was fun! I loved the club stuff back in the day.”
Company, who is in his 30s, says “back in the day” a lot.
By the time Company was 23, he was booking the big DJs of the time, some straight from the USA, and organising venues all over Europe. But although successful, he always needed money up front for artists and to pay deposits for venues. It could get hairy.
I don’t want to have a job
While looking for sponsors and other money-making possibilities, he asked a friend who was running a music video production company for advice and support. Instead, the friend offered him a job.
“A job? I don’t want to have a ‘job’!” he thought, but let himself be persuaded to come over to Palma to take a look at the office and the project his new partner wanted him to lead.
Company, who by this time was starting to tire somewhat of all the late nights and temperamental artists, thought it sounded interesting.
“I need to take the next step forward,” he said to himself.
So November 1st 2011 Herr Company moved to Palma armed with a lot of know-how, leaving Company Entertainment in Germany.
“But at the same time, that agency was still running, doing up to 400 concerts a year! Do you know the Brit Awards? Well, we were given the German equivalent of that. Contemporary rap is HUGE in Germany. We managed Capone-N-Noreaga, The Pharcyde, Ratman, Xzibit, RAF Camora…”
He must have sensed how little I understand of this (zero) because he changes the subject to something more oldie-friendly.
“ I found out something interesting which maybe explains why rap is so huge in Germany and France: Most of the rap artists there are immigrants. Even the ones that are huge now, you know, when we started with them, they were delivering pizza! Most of the rappers from back in the day are still in the industry. But they were, well, shall we say young and wild, so looking after became one of my main duties. After a while I felt the need to use my brain in a different way. You know, I like to learn. After six months of doing something, I already feel it’s old. And yet I worked for 11 years in the events industry… It was time for a big change. ”
So what would be more natural than to move to Mallorca?
At first the company, IMOCASH, was a 22 square metre office with two people.
“We developed digital portals and goods for 14 different countries. We became one of the biggest content providers in Europe.”
I like working with digital misfits
IMOCASH (I make Online Cash) became Next Level Affiliate Marketing, an agency which just keeps on growing and now employs 14 people in an office of 250 square metres.
Company’s mother was relieved when her son left the music agency business.
“She said: ‘Now you can go and work for an insurance company.’ Ha! No way. No, I like working with digital misfits. Everyone here is a weirdo. We can wear shorts and t-shirts to work. And I love Mallorca – it really is my home. For the first time in my life, I don’t feel like an immigrant,” Company, who speaks German, Farsi, English and Spanish, beams.
“I think Mallorca is on the cusp of going in a new direction. There are lots of different cultures here which is great for us because we work worldwide. It’s technologically advanced, you can make a big impact here with a small team. You can get everything here. It really is the best place in Europe! Back in the day, I used to be a city boy, now I’m much more in contact with nature. When I’m in Palma I’m in working mode; at home with my two dogs I’m in country mode. ”
Company is positive about the future.
“Every day a new shop opens online and the quality of products is just getting better and better. I have no regrets – I wouldn’t change anything! Of course I have made mistakes in my life, but they made me the person I am now. I’m happy for other people’s success. But if you ask me what my ultimate goal is – I still have no clue! But yes, I’m sure the future looks bright.”
Company laughs again. He seems assured with his position in the world and is open to change and the vicissitudes of fate. Just like back in the day.